For most of us, childhood consists of lessons on hard work. Our teachers, coaches, parents, mentors, and other elders whom we often admire have taught us that in order to achieve the success you want, you must work hard.
The issue with this philosophy is that children then infer that if they aren’t achieving the success they want, it’s because their hard work isn’t good enough.
Often, that disappointment manifests into much deeper, more harmful beliefs. It leads to feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, comparison to others, thoughts of failure, and even self-hatred.
The chain of events gets worse from there. These feelings of failure and inadequacy can deter you from even bothering to try future projects or ideas. You can convince yourself that you’re not good enough because even though you worked hard, you still failed, so why bother to try again?
Damaging stuff, all from being taught an emphasis on hard work.
While hard work is important, it’s equally important to understand that when things don’t pan out as expected, it doesn’t logically follow that your hard work, therefore, wasn’t good enough.
Instead, we must focus on what did go right with our hard work.
It might sound easier said than done, to focus on what worked about a project even when the overall goal may have gone up in flames.
But it doesn’t have to be hard. This is where gratitude comes in.
Like anything you wish to excel at, gratitude takes practice, ideally a daily practice. I picked up a habit of my own from my father. I suggest you adopt it as well.
My dad was an entrepreneur; he owned an accounting firm and managed a staff. Yet no matter how busy he was, he’d find time for his 30 minutes of daily gratitude. At 4:00 PM, an alarm would go off on all his devices reminding him to take 30 minutes to be grateful, putting down computers, phones and canceling meetings if need be. It was a daily requirement.
Not shockingly, he often attributed his gracious and positive attitude to his success as an entrepreneur. You know what he did not attribute all that success to? You guessed it: hard work.
This is because gratitude is the most powerful tool toward success.
Importantly, gratitude does not equal complacency. If you “fail” to achieve something, this does not mean that you decide to be grateful without that achievement, and therefore no longer go for it.
Instead, use gratitude as a tool to identify all the positives and benefits of anything you attempt, whether you succeed at achieving your laid-out goal or not. If you can “fail”, and stay grateful for the opportunity, the learnings, the chance to even have tried to begin with, the option to try something new, the intelligence you had to try at all, the bravery you used to put yourself out there, and so on. You empower yourself to continue moving forward and upward.
No longer will you allow the lack of an achievement to mean that your hard work wasn’t good enough, and therefore stop yourself from stepping back up to the plate.
You can now use the lack of an achievement to find the little achievements all around you. From there, you regain your power and strength to not only step back up to the plate, but to knock your next goal out of the park.